Estimating Changes in Orphanhood after the January 2010 Haiti Earthquake

Thomas W. Pullum, University of Texas at Austin

Following an environmental disaster or emergency such as an earthquake, flood, or tsunami, estimates of the overall number of deaths and population affected are often developed rapidly, but with no detail on the age, sex, or household status of those who died. This paper develops a simple model to estimate the number of children who survived the emergency but lost one or both parents, or their household head. Such children are especially vulnerable and have a special need for assistance. The model is applied to the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010. It is estimated that approximately 101,000 children under 18 died, 125,000 children became single orphans, and 12,000 children became double orphans. About one-third of the new double orphans lost both parents in the earthquake. About two-thirds had previously lost one parent, and experienced the death of their only surviving parent.

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Presented in Session 140: Impacts of Conflicts and Natural Disasters I